Pyramid Out Plate In


Last Thursday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled the new Food Chart guide to healthy eating. Gone is the confusing pyramid of the last ten years or so. It is replaced by a simple plate graphic with a spot for a glass of milk, representing dairy foods.


The plate certainly is clearer than the old pyramid, which was very confusing. The plate comes with a website, with more detailed guidance, interactive tools, and advice on healthy eating. 

Oils (fats) are no longer a food group in this new plate scheme. I guess we are supposed to cook things without oils. Oils are mentioned only in passing and only as a “Related Topic” at the website. We are told oils and fats as provide essential nutrients with recommended daily intake based sex and age. And the chart is hidden. It took me a few minutes to find it.

I think Julia Child would laugh her head off at the low daily oil figures in this oil allowance chart,  just 5 teaspoons daily for me. Julia Child lived to age 92 by eating all the things that taste good, including butter. Lots and lots of butter!  And look at Betty White. On her 89th birthday she ate hot dogs, her favorite food, to celebrate.

And they want me to limit myself to 5 teaspoons of oil a day. I don’t think so. Not going to happen.

That news gave me the biggest laugh I have had in a long time.

And as we know from MTTD’s Sunday’s rerun (see, reruns are not always so bad) about the Lipid (fat) Hypothesis, Ancel Keys cherry picked the data he used to “prove” that fat was not healthy for us. And there are no conclusive studies proving Ancel Keys hypothesis, as last Friday’s post on the newest fat research shows us, Want To Lose Weight Fast.

However, I think the new chart is clearer and more understandable. And for those who need a visual chart it is as good a guide as any.

But I still stick with my basic philosophy expressed here many times.

No chart. No numbers. No Aps. Just plain ‘ole good common sense.

Roberta’s Common Sense Health and Diet Plan

1. I pretty much eat what I damn well please.  I just eat less of it.  And then I add a bit more fruit and vegetables. And with apologies to none, I cook with real butter!!!

2. I try to eat a balanced diet. That means I eat fat, carbs, and protein. And sometimes I splurge on one or the other of those three. When I do, I just eat less of it for a few days to try and balance it out.

3. I eat a wide variety of foods.  The recipes you see here at MTTD are what I eat. From Hungarian Greasy Bread (high fat) to Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms (low fat), and everything in-between, I eat it all. And I love all the food I eat. I mean, I enjoy it. I savor it. I take great pleasure in eating and in life. 

4. I try to eat fish at least a couple of times a month.

5. I try to eat real food as much as possible and limit, when I can, things like boxed, pre-packaged, and fast foods as much as humanly possible.

6. I only eat half or less of restaurant sized entrees. Or I order an appetizer with a salad as my meal – portion size control.

7. I stay active. I don’t do formal exercise. How boring!!!! But I do things I enjoy like walk, swim, garden, and dance. And I clean my own home. Except on snow and ice, I park my car as far away from my destination – grocery store, movie theater, whatever – as I can get thereby adding a bit more walking into my life. Plus it is easier to find a parking spot there. And fewer dings on my car, too.

8. I do not get my health information from the media. I am wary of doctors pushing anything.

Plus, I subscribe to the Pleasure Principle! More on that in a  future post. 

Featured Recipe    
Broiled Chicken Salad with Citrusy Dressing

Today’s recipe is a tasty and easy main dish salad for busy week nights.

You can use left over veggies from your fridge, or buy some veggies from your grocery store’s salad bar like I did. It is a bit more expensive that way, as salad bars are one of the biggest price gouging rip offs in history. But some times, like week nights when time is of the essence, convenience trumps all.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

3 tablespoons white wine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoons lemon juice

Salad greens of your choice

Left over or Salad Bar veggies

Salt and pepper to taste 

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest strips

Salt and pepper to taste


Here is what you do:

Whisk the wine, olive oil, lemon juice, and the salt and pepper together to make the marinade.

Pour the marinade over the chicken. Turn chicken to coat completely. Let marinate at least one-half hour turning several times. 

When ready place the chicken on a foiled lined baking sheet and broil without turning until opaque, about 5-7 minutes, more if your chicken breasts are large.

Remove from broiler, set aside and let rest for a few minutes.

While the chicken is resting cut or tear your lettuce into bite size pieces.

Make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients and whisking well. Set aside.

NOTE: I used a channel zester to make the lemon strips that go in the dressing.

Arrange the lettuce greens on three plates.

When the chicken is slightly cooled, or completely cooled if you so desire, slice each piece length wise and place on top of the greens.

Then add the other veggies around the chicken to make the salad look pretty and colorful then pour some of the citrusy dressing over all.

That’s all there is to it. Serve with some bread and butter.

Bon Appetite!!!


3 chicken breast halves                    $3.98

3 tablespoons white wine                 $0.60

1 tablespoon olive oil                        $0.12

1 tablespoons lemon juice                 $0.20

Salad greens of your choice              $1.99

Left over or Salad Bar veggies           $1.10

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil                       $0.36

2 tablespoons lemon juice                 $0.40

1 tablespoon lemon zest strips           $0.00

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $8.75
Cost per person = $2.92 

Quote of the Day 

Bear in mind that you should conduct yourself in life as at a feast. 

Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD)


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2 comments to Pyramid Out Plate In

  • wow your Health and Diet Plan is exactly the same as mine! Once I moved to Europe and discovered the pure joy and pleasure in eating as well as moderation and sense, I slimmed down, felt better and was never happier and freer from guilt! I love food but am smart about it! Yes, I love to bake and cook with butter and olive oil, but I am sensible, too. Diet? What’s that? And I love your salad! When I am in the US, even though I am often tempted by hamburgers with fries on any menu, I love getting the grilled chicken on top of a salad! Gee I need to make this at home! Great blog! Thanks for connecting!

    • Roberta

      Welcome Jamie. I too am so glad we connected. Thank you Yuri. So glad to have some one from France say what I have said so often in the blog. The French eat loads of fat and do not have same coronary problems as here. Some call that phenomena The French Paradox.

      Thank you for your intelligent and great comment. 🙂